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« on: December 23, 2004, 02:56:03 AM »

Ex-Muslim Seeks to Transform Iran with Christian Broadcasts

by Chad Groening
December 21, 2004

(AgapePress) - The head of a California-based ministry aimed at reaching Muslims for Christ says the gospel of Jesus Christ is not the only message he takes to millions of people in Iran. The U.S. evangelist, born in Iran, is also preaching the virtues of democracy to people in his native country at every opportunity.

Donald Fareed, a former Muslim himself, came to know Jesus as his Lord and Savior 14 years ago. He went on to become an ordained minister and the founding pastor of the Bay Area Persian Churches of San Mateo and Santa Clara, California.

Fareed also began Persian Ministries International, an evangelistic outreach based in San Jose, through which he works to fulfill his call -- to bring others out of Islam and into the knowledge of God through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Today he uses his weekly satellite television program to carry the gospel back to his homeland.

But the ministry founder notes that many social and political obstacles to evangelism exist in Iran, and Persian Christians face severe persecution. "As soon as people convert," he explains,"[the authorities] catch them and put them in jail. So we need democracy there. We need freedom."

Still, Fareed acknowledges that spiritual change must take precedence over social or political change. "Freedom without Christ is going to bring corruption, of course," he says. "So the first thing is the gospel and the second thing is democracy."

On the other hand, Fareed does make use of his weekly broadcasts to encourage his former countrymen to push for a new government. At the same time, he tries to educate his listeners, because he wants the Iranian people to learn about the positive values, standards, and ethics of Western culture.

"Preaching the gospel is not the only thing," the Christian pastor and evangelist asserts. "Of course we're teaching them about ideal Western values, and we're encouraging them to [pursue] a referendum -- free elections."

Fareed is hopeful that, through Persian Ministries, he can help to effect spiritual transformation among the people of Iran by turning hearts toward Jesus. At the same time, he is praying for and sowing seeds toward a transformation of values that will usher in a freer, more just and democratic Iran in the future.


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